Kingdom Hearts Story Recap - What You Need to Know

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Trevor J Fonvergne
With Kingdom Hearts 3 on the horizon, there is a lot of backstory to get caught up on. KH3 isn't actually the third kingdom hearts game, and there are side stories, prequels and setups you need to know about! But don't worry, we have the full Kingdom Hearts story for you.
“Kingdom Hearts” Story Recap

There’s more to the story than just a bunch of Disney characters. Welcome to MojoPlays and today we’ll be recapping the story so far of the “Kingdom Hearts” franchise.

We’re just going to get this out of the way first; The series is notorious for being as convoluted as possible, that we can’t go through absolutely everything, otherwise we’ll be here all day. So consider this your fast tracked version of the most important elements of the most important games in the series: Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, Chain of Memories, 358 Days Over 2, Birth By Sleep & Dream Drop Distance. Here we go.

The story of “Kingdom Hearts” first introduced us to Sora, a teenager living on Destiny Islands. Along with his best friends, Riku and Kairi, he hoped to visit other worlds. Just as they were about to set sail, their world was destroyed by the Heartless, and Sora was bestowed with the Keyblade and separated from his friends. Soon after, he met Donald and Goofy, who were instructed to locate the Keyblade wielder after the mysterious flight of King Mickey.

In their first adventure, they rescued a handful of worlds from the Heartless, which are the manifestation of hearts corrupted by darkness. Meanwhile, Riku fell to the darkness in an attempt to save Kairi, and Sora ultimately had to confront him. As it turns out, a being going by the name of Ansem, the incidental creator of the Heartless, had possessed him and orchestrated most of the events of the first game. In order to save Kairi, Sora is forced to unlock his heart, which causes him to briefly become a Heartless before being saved by Kairi. Sora, Donald and Goofy are able to defeat Ansem, but not before he opens the door to Kingdom Hearts, forcing Riku and Mickey to stay behind and close the door, while Kairi returns to Destiny Islands.

Following the events of the first game, Sora found his way to Castle Oblivion, where he was given false memories as he fought his way through several members of the villainous Organization XIII. The Organization is a group of “Nobodies,” the leftover shells of being whose hearts were corrupted. Namine, a mysterious Nobody, erases Sora’s untrue memories and puts him to into a deep sleep while Riku, longing for redemption, seeks out Roxas, the Nobody of Sora who was created when Sora unlocked his heart. Without Roxas, the character known as DiZ won’t be able to awaken Sora.

As Riku searches for Roxas, the Organization creates Xion, a replica of Roxas meant to be a failsafe, should Roxas prove to be useless to their plans to recreate Kingdom Hearts. When Xion discovers this, she defects from the Organization, as does Roxas soon after, upon learning of their true intent. Xion forces Roxas to defeat her, because they cannot continue to coexist. As Xion disappears, so do everyone’s memories of her. Furious with the Organization, Roxas comes face to face with Riku, and defeats him. In order to restore Riku’s memories, Riku embraces his darkness and apprehends him.

With Roxas captured and Sora’s memories restored, he sets out on his second major adventure, taking on the remainder of the Organization. Reuniting with the King, they discover that the “Ansem” they defeated was actually the Heartless of Xehanort, an apprentice of the true Ansem the Wise, who has been masquerading as DiZ. His Nobody, Xemnas, founded and led the Organization with the goal of reshaping the universe in his own design. Sora, Riku, and Kairi finally find each other and Ansem the Wise is able to halt the creation of Kingdom Hearts with a device that overtakes him in the process. The heroes put an end to Xemnas and the Organization, and Roxas rejoins with Sora, while Namine, Kairi’s nobody, rejoins with her. The heroes are all able to finally return home; however, upon arriving at Destiny Islands, Sora receives a letter, informing him of three keyblade wielders from the past.

Ten years prior to the first game, Terra, Ventus and Aqua trained under Master Eraqus. Master Xehanort, an enigmatic old man, hoped to reignite the Keyblade War, and used the three heroes as pawns in his game. He created Vanitas from the darkness of Ventus’ heart, hoping to forge the chi-blade, but Ventus overpowers him, falling into a deep sleep in the process. Ventus’ heart finds refuge in the heart of a young Sora, while Aqua hides his body in Castle Oblivion. Master Xehanort takes advantage of Terra’s darkness, manipulating him into battling Eraqus, and ultimately killing him. Xehanort steals Terra’s body and becomes an apprentice of Ansem the Wise, setting the series’ events in motion. Aqua sacrifices herself to save Terra’s heart, becoming stranded in the realm of darkness.

After learning of this story, Sora and Riku both take the Mark of Mastery exam in order to prepare for the impending showdown and save the heroes from their fates. However, Master Xehanort and his incarnations return and manipulate Sora, hoping to create him into an incarnation of darkness. Xehanort reveals his ultimate plan to assemble thirteen vessels of darkness to battle seven guardians of light to properly complete the chi-blade. Riku is able to save Sora from the villains’ clutches and bring him back to Yen Sid’s tower, where Riku is declared a Keyblade Master, though Sora fails his test. Sora sets off to improve his skills as Yen Sid and Mickey begin to plan their next move and assemble the seven guardians of light. These guardians, as it turns out, might even include newly-minted Keyblade wielders Lea and Kairi.

With that, the stage is set for an epic confrontation between Master Xehanort and his cohorts and Sora and the rest of the heroes in “Kingdom Hearts III,” which is set to be the final chapter of the Dark Seeker saga. After fifteen years, an ever-growing colourful cast of characters and an increasingly complex story, we can’t wait to see what becomes of it.